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Heartwood Box

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.

In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She'll buckle do
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Tor Teen
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  79 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Candace Robinson
I really liked the author’s Razorland series but I just couldn’t get into this one. Maybe because I don’t read a lot of mystery stuff? But her writing was just as good as her other books!
Marta Cox
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-reviews, netgalley
This book was most definitely a surprise. The author clearly decided to mess with her readers heads and mix more than one genre here so if it’s YA paranormal mixed with time travel and suspense that intrigues you then pick this up. The author herself has likened it to Stranger Things meets the Lake House and I couldn’t agree more.
The story revolves around Araceli a young mixed race girl staying with her aunt in a town where people keep disappearing . The mystery apparently involves strange ligh
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
I read Like Never and Always last year and didn't think it could get weirder than that.  But Heartwood Box might have beat it for me.  Ann Aguirre writes the strangest books and I really like how her mind works.

This book is such a mix of genres.  It has a mystery, it's a thriller at times, there is some sci fi, some historical fiction, ghost story, and some romance.  I'll do my best to write what I can without giving anything away.

Araceli moves in with her great aunt for her senior year.  She us
Caryn {iam.caryn}
Aguirre herself tweeted that Heartwood Box is “Stranger Things meets The Lake House”. There’s really no better way to explain this book.

I previously read Aguirre’s book The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things and I believe that it was the better book that I’ve read by her. My enjoyment of that book was why I was interested in reading this one. While Heartwood Box has an interesting premise, the execution wasn’t what I had hoped for.

There were many instances when the conversational scenes were slopp
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved everything about this cover and synopsis and I’m pretty much here for everything Ann writes.

I think I liked Araceli? She’s a little rough around the edges, but for the most part I liked being in her head. She’s sarcastic and strong. There are a lot of characters in this story and I’m not sure if that’s good or not. No one really felt fleshed out...if that was on purpose to show how Araceli was an outsider, it was effective.

Plot wise, it okay. There are loads of moving parts and plot th
Jaye Berry
Jun 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, ebooks
I won't fully review until closer to release date but this was okay, not what I was expecting at all. I think the cover and the summary just gave me a different vibe over what the book actually is and that was a shame. There were a lot of things in here I've seen before and I didn't really like the romance either. I don't think Ann Aguirre is a terrible writer or anything, this was just a miss for me.
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.0


Ann Aguirre's Heartwood Box is a cross between fantasy, and science fiction, and speculation. Thanks to her parents spending time in Venezuela covering a story, because why not? Araceli Flores Harper is sent to her great-Aunt Ottilie's home on Long Island to spend the summer before she attends her final year of High School. Ottilie's husband disappeared 20 years ago. She still lives in the run down Victorian ho
Amber (The Book Bratz)
The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz

I really wasn't sure what I was expecting when I began to read Heartwood Box, but I think compared to the summary I was expecting something a lot different. I also am not the biggest contemporary fan. I love fantasy and science fiction and things with heavy world building. So it was a little different reading something that takes place in the real world. Heartwood Box also takes place in New York, so I was really intrigued with that aspect. T
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-07-july, arc
Have you ever encountered those stories, pieces of art, new foods, or other things that you weren’t sure about at first, but they slowly began to grow on you? This describes my experience with Heartwood Box. The weird thing is that this didn’t even happen while I was reading the book. It began to happen after I finished and thought about it. The story keeps coming back to me -- it’s the type that lingers. It’s an unusual tale and my instinct while reading it was to rate it 3 stars. When I finish ...more
Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

3.5 Stars

Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a book that I picked up unsure of what to expect. It is thrilling and mysterious, and it blends multiple genres to create something that I have never seen before. I enjoyed the main character and her determination to makes things right in her new town, however the ending didn’t work out for me, and it impacted my enjoyment of the book. This is still a fantastic read, but I would have enjoyed a different outcome.

This book tak
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
What an odd, odd story.

There was so much happening, so many separate storylines that it had me confused. Was this sci fi? Was this contemporary? Was this a mystery? It felt a little all over the place...

The Nerd Daily
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Laura Erne

“This is where hope goes to die.”

I knew after just one sentence that this book was going to be good. It kicks off with the main character, Araceli, and her perspective is hilariously pessimistic. Her clearly sarcastic observations help lighten the very dark things that seem to happen in this new yet, seemingly old town.

“I like them all more when they accept that without asking a lot of questions. If we click, I’ll tell them about my life,
Annie Deo
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Review originally posted at my blog.


This book caught my interest with that gorgeous cover and the blurb which per the author's pitch is Stranger Things meets The Lake House. I recently binge-watched season 3 of Stranger Things, I'm a massive fan, so those vibes got me excited, and I'm old enough to have watched The Lake House when it was released 13 (!!) years ago, which makes me feel decrepit as the main character notes "If my great-aunt knows about it, then it's probably pretty old."

Liz (Quirky Cat)
I received a copy of Heartwood Box through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Heartwood Box is the newest novel by Ann Aguirre, and it is an amazing blend of different genres. It's young adult, and has romance, supernatural, and science fiction elements as well. It's a time travel tale, but also a tale of a teenage girl trying to do what is right. And it's so amazingly dark and brilliant.
It's also a very introspective novel, in its own way. It makes you think. About assumptio
Dani Iglesia
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
*A big thanks to the publisher for approving my request for this book in exchange of honest review*

This book give me nerves to the ultimate emotions, unexpected twists and unexpected ending. It’s clearly good book to read, you’ll have everything to feel in this book: Creepy, Suspense, and Romance. I didn’t get bored, for real, every chapter is moving in different scenarios and getting me a bit jumpy while reading. It’s dark and romantic read, it’s already one of my favorites.

The story have so mu
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Teenager Araceli Flores Harper's parents have a dangerous job that resulted in them sending Araceli to live with her Great Aunt Ottilie and her outdated, presumably haunted Victorian house. Tia Ottilie lives in a small town where the local stay in after dark, steer clear of the woods, and disappear into thin air. The plan was simple. Araceli would go to high school and get ready for college. Tia Ottilie's husband has been gone for 20 years, but she still leaves food for him on the table. Strange ...more
Kristie Elston
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dft-reviews
Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a young adult novel that is part romantic mystery part science fiction thriller. This novel definitely packed the sci fi compared to Like Never and Always which was why I was kind of disappointed in that book. Heartwood Box follows the story of Araceli Flores Harper as she is sent to live with her Great Aunt in New York, while her parents are going to war torn Venezuela which they deem is too dangerous for her. Araceli has traveled all over the world but she isn’t ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the chance to read and review this book.

This was just such a bizarre story! At first it reads as a mystery. Then quickly turns to paranormal. It goes through almost all the genres you can think of! Mystery, thriller, paranormal, romance, science fiction, and even historical fiction. And somehow it all worked!

Araceil comes to stay with her great aunt for her last year in high school while her parents are working in Venezuela. They think she will be safer i
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
First off, huge thanks to you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for giving me an arc of the book to read

I was really excited to read this book as the mysterious and time traveling aspects were what caught my attention almost immediately when I read the synopsis. But then, I actually read it and I'm sad to say that I was disappointed. This letdown mainly stemmed from how the story was told and how it played out.

Heartwood Box Follows Araceli, A POC characters who move to A small subtly racist tone in New
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Thank you to MacMillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eArc.

Heartwood Box is a mystery story that builds slowly in the beginning and packs a punch at the end with an ending that is somewhat bizarre but it works. I thought it was creative and different. My reaction was more like, what?……🤔

While reading this book, I was wondering if this was a ghost story but some things didn’t add up especially when there are people going missing in this strange town. I
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya, 2019-releases
I was intrigued by the synopsis for Heartwood Box. It's rare that you pick up a YA novel and have no idea what to expect, so I was excited to see where this would go.

Aguirre has taken on a truly ambitious concept here, and there are many different layers to the central mystery. This is both the novel's strength and its weakness. I appreciated the complexity, but it's too much for a standalone. There's simply not enough time to develop the competing strands of contemporary lit, historical romance
Andrea Johnston
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I originally requested this book from Net Galley as it sounded like an ooky-spooky haunted house tale to thrill and chill. However, the further and further along I got into the novel, the more it appeared as though this work was having some serious identity issues. For quite some time, the work struggles with what it wants to be: a thriller, sci-fi, historical romance, relatable teen/YA fiction, but henny, that moment when it all comes together? That is what readers LIVE for.

Heartwood Box beauti
Caitlin Janke
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I went into a Heartwood box thinking it was a typical mystery/ thriller. I was totally wrong. This story has so much going on but I'm not sure that's a good thing.

The main character is determined to figure out the mystery of the missing people. At the same time she gets letters from a stranger. She has to balance her new life while trying to figure out the mysterious town.

I feel the plot had too many events happening for one story. At times it worked for the story and other times it felt like
Mrs. Kenyon
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Araceli’s parents have decided that she needs to spend her senior year with her great-aunt Ottilie in a small New York town. They thought it would be a safe and quiet place for her to get ready for college, but they didn’t know that people have been going missing for over twenty years and there are mysterious lights in the woods that Araceli is explicitly told to NOT follow. After Araceli begins receiving letters from a GI during the First World War, she wonders whether it is all one big prank o ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
After years of traveling around the world with her parents, Araceli is sent to a small ton in the US in order to finish high school. Her aunt Ottilie is a wonderful person, but the disappearance of her husband 20 years ago left her with some very strange habits. And, to top that up, she's not the strangest person in town.

People have been vanishing from this strange place for the past twenty years. And yet, some people think they can feel the missing ones' presence. Are they all just a bunch of
Elena L.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Araceli Flores is sent to stay with her great-aunt Ottilie in a small town and finds out that there are lots of missing people, also she starts receiving mysterious letters from a person from the past.

The premise was utterly mysterious and I just wanted to discover the many secrets behind the plot. Nevertheless, the mundane facts distracted me from the main story and it took a while for the story to become interesting. While the interaction between Araceli and the person from the past kept me re
Claire (bookscoffeeandrepeat)
Heartwood Box had an interesting premise and it definitely wasn't what I was expecting. There were some things I both liked and disliked in this book but I won't be giving a full review until next month (weeks before its release date). I also read the epilogue and it basically addressed what didn't work for me in this book. Again, I did like the idea of this book but I just had some issues with it (opinions).

Full RTC. I'm giving this 2.5/5.

*Huge thanks to the publisher for approving my request
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Araceli has traveled the world with her parents. She is ready to let them go on without her, so she has asked her great aunt to take her in. As the plot progresses we learn that things aren’t as they seem. The first thing Araceli notices is that there are “missing” posters all over the town. Even Aunt Ollie is stuck in the past because her beloved husband just disappeared. As she makes new friends, she learns that their loved ones had also disappeared. Then, while investigating her apparently ha ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Heartwood Box was a surprise. I read nothing about it before I opened the book. The mixture of sci-fi and haunted town was great. I liked Araceli as a character, and I thought she was well fleshed-out. The other characters were better than one-dimensional, but not great. I'd like to know more about the other characters' backstory or motivations.
Racism was a major theme, but I don't think it was adequately addressed. In the beginning, the characters of color self-segregate for safety. In the end
Carolynn (All the Books and Chocolate)
This story sort of felt like it wanted to be Stranger Things, and I'm not saying that's bad, but it did sort of throw me for a loop.  At the start of the book, you can tell something strange is going on.  Honestly, I probably should have figured it out sooner than I did, but the story was good, if not a little slow in parts.  The end sort of hits you and while I did feel like it was a little fast, everything does get tied up nicely.  

I did really like Araceli.  She was maybe a little too resourc
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre - Starting June 7th 2019 1 6 Jun 04, 2019 04:31PM  
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds ...more
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